Press Picks

april 3
Don your orange and black The Harley-Davidson Traveling Museum, a 48-foot, 18-wheel mobile monu-ment to the great American motorcycle, is here. The rig's haulage includes the all-new VR-1000 superbike, which has been kicking butt on the AMA circuit, and the vintage Peashooter, whose 1937 Daytona speed record still stands. Some fondling will be allowed. Today only, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mancuso Harley-Davidson, 535 North Loop (at North Main), 880-5666. Free (but all donations will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association).

Mitch Hedberg Hedberg's bio is a delight to read. Unfortunately for all you gentle folk out there, it's a bit long to print here in its entirety, but the highlights of this easy-going Los Angeles comic's career include a recent Late Night appearance (he was the one talking to the deli meat); a 12-show tour with Ellen DeGeneres (making fans "wait longer to see her"); opening for Tommy Chong in Guam ("fielding gifts of marijuana from fans, [gifts] that I was supposed to give to the less accessible former movie star"); and being fired by Bill Maher. Well, he says, "My comedy isn't for everybody, just for people who think I'm funny." That would include me. His pal Chard Hogan opens. 8:30 p.m. (See Thrills, Comedy for additional showtimes.) Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray, 524-2333. $6.50-$10.

The Member of the Wedding Twelve-year-old Frankie is at that awkward stage, struggling to discover her place in life. She finds comfort with her family's black cook, Edna, whose own family struggles with life's limitations in another way (i.e., Jim Crow laws). Carson McCuller's The Member of the Wedding was contemporary when it was published as a novel in 1946, and remained contemporary when it became a play in 1950 and then a movie in 1952. It endures because, hey, people are still struggling to find their places. 7:30 p.m. Main Street Theater, Chelsea Market, 4617 Montrose, 524-6706. $10-$15; discounts are available for seniors and students.

Houston Works Seventy-two of Houston's design pros -- architects, landscapers, preservationists, graphic designers and others who are deciding just what our city will look like -- have put ideas on paper for all to see. In some cases, it's too late for changes; the projects are complete. For others, the time will never come: Some projects are strictly conceptual. Either way, the design people care what you think; if you care what they build, go on down and get in on the debate. Opening reception, 6-8 p.m.; the exhibition continues through May 17. Lawndale Art & Performance Center, 4912 Main Street, 527-4876. $10.

april 4
HSPVA: Celebrating 25 Years Our own little bit of Fame, the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, turns 25 this year, and in celebration 20 graduates on the visual side are showing their stuff at DiverseWorks. The artists selected represent a wide range of HSPVA grads, but all continue to live and work here in the Bayou City. Opening, 7-9 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, 228-0914. Free.

Ex-Con-Vention Maybe you've been in prison. If so, Freddie Gage doesn't want you to return. The gang-leader-turned-preacher and author of All My Friends Are Dead speaks to more than 800 former inmates for a three-day inspirational rally, a "criminal justice version of Promise Keepers." The convention continues all weekend. 7:30-9:30 p.m. tonight; 10-11:30 a.m. and 7-9 p.m. Saturday; and 10:30-11:45 a.m. Sunday. First Baptist Church Heights, 201 East Ninth Street, 861-3102. Free.

The Musical World of Thomas Mann The German writer may be known primarily for his literary genius, but music was central to his characters and was a source of many of his best known works, among them The Magic Mountain, Tonio Krsger, Tristan and Doctor Faustus. Tonight, Da Camera's Sarah Rothenberg (pianist) and mezzo-soprano Katherine Ciesinski are among the artists performing Schubert, Brahms, Mahler, Wagner, Beethoven and others. Fritz Weaver (whose acting credits range from a guest-star slot on The X-Files to a Tony-winning turn in Child's Play) will read selected passages. Mann will even read a bit himself, not through seance, but via his own recording of Tonio Krsger. 8 p.m. Wortham Center, Cullen Theater, 500 Texas, 524-5050. $15-$30.

Undiscovered Talent contest "There's a good reason some talent remains undiscovered" is the ad line for Christopher Guest's new mockumentary Waiting for Guffman. Before that movie starts, real, live Houstonians will have a chance to prove that maxim. The first 15 people to sign up will have two minutes or less to show their stuff to the movie audience, a la the Gong Show; all entrants win a movie pass for themselves and a date, and the grand prize winner takes home a director's chair. Goonball talent begins manifesting itself around 9:30 p.m., prior to the night's final screening of Waiting for Guffman. Greenway Theatre, 5 Greenway Plaza, 850-0217.  

1997 U.S.-International Air Hockey Championships The greatest rivals in air hockey history face off this weekend as Houston's own Tim "Young Wolf" Weissman goes for his record-tying 11th national/world title against Atlanta's Jesse Douty, who set that record some years back. The path to the finals will be no cakewalk, though, with up-and-comers such as Venezuela's national champion, Jose Mora, here to compete. The winners will divvy $10,000 in cash and prizes. Spectators can watch 6:30-11 p.m. Friday; 11-1 p.m. Saturday; and noon-10 p.m Sunday. Competitors sign up between 9:30 and 11 a.m. Saturday. Cineplex Odeon Cinescape, Sharpstown Center, Southwest Freeway at Bellaire Boulevard, 467-6417, Free to watch; $10-$50 to enter.

april 5
Hurricane season The rest of the world already knows, but it's taken a while for the Yanks to figure out why soccer is the number one sport on the planet. For one thing, the fast, hard-banging action never stops, and at more advanced levels the incredible athletic feats and crisp teamwork boggle the mind. Houston's premier futbol team may not be World Cup material, but the Houston Hurricanes play at a level that will impress even the average Brazilian. The 1997 season opener at Robertson Stadium features a number of new arrivals to the squad, including coach Richard Pardo, a former member of the Puerto Rican national team. Recognizing soccer's growing appeal among the younger set, the Hurricanes have dedicated their season to Houston's youth and will admit fans age 16 and under free to every home game. 8 p.m. Robertson Stadium, University of Houston (off Cullen). $7; free, 16 and under.

Wallace and Gromit: The Best of Aardman Animation Mix the best of Disney, Jay Ward and the Brothers Quay, mold it into clay and bring it to life with a British sense of humor and you've got Aardman animation. Included are two Nick Park Academy Award-winners: "A Close Shave," featuring scatter-brained inventor Wallace and Gromit, his levelheaded canine, as they unravel the mystery behind a nationwide wool shortage, and "Creature Comforts," a hilarious series of polite complaints from over-assimilated zoo animals. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. tonight and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Rice University, Rice Media Center (entrance no. 8 off University Boulevard), 527-4853. $4.50.

27th Annual Buffalo Bayou Regatta It's not just a regatta anymore, but the 14.5-mile canoe and kayak race remains the centerpiece of this downtown waterfest. For the less competitive, there's the Anything That Floats Parade, a sort-of Art Car Parade that bobs along 400 feet of murky water. What you sail is up to your imagination, but in crafting your buoyant beauty, keep the general rules of the Art Car Parade in mind: No endangering the public, and no stalling on the parade route. The festivities conclude with an awards ceremony and a party on dry land. Registration, 7:30 a.m.; regatta races, 9 a.m.; Bayou Bash, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; parade, noon. On the banks of Buffalo Bayou next to the Sabine Street Bridge, 654-8900. Bayou Bash, free; entry fees are $15-$20 per person or $250 for a corporate team.

Fotofield More fun on Buffalo Bayou's shores. The folks with the Buffalo Bayou Artpark are organizing a mass planting ... of photo art. Mount a photo on a stick, or a stake, or anything else you can jab into the ground, and plant it in the grass with scads of others. If the weather conditions are right, expect a bumper crop of Houston vistas. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Buffalo Bayou Artpark, Sabine Street Bridge at Allen Parkway, 229-9760. Free.

Bayou City Art Festival -- Memorial Park Once upon a time, this spring arts festival was called the Westheimer Art Festival. And once upon a long time ago, it was actually on Westheimer. But now it's found a home in Memorial Park. Three hundred artists will sell works amid the tall pines and permanent bathrooms of the Memorial Park Picnic Area. The festivities include a free children's area, where young'uns can learn the how-tos of painting. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. today and Sunday. Memorial Park, Picnic Loop (south of Memorial across from the golf course). $5; free, children under 12.

april 6
1997 Yiddish Festival The ongoing festival celebrates Yiddish, especially through its use in music and films. You get a little of both today, plus local expert Howard Kuznetz will guide you through Yiddish outposts on the Internet; his presentation is followed by a panel discussion on the past, present and future of the language. The music comes in the form of a family Passover sing-along, and the film, Image Before My Eyes -- in English (the subtitles are in Yiddish) -- is a docudrama on Jewish Poland. Activities are scheduled throughout the day, beginning at 11 a.m. Jewish Community Center, 5601 South Braeswood, 729-3200, extension 3231. Today's events are free (prices vary for events on other days).  

april 7
New Art from L.A. As curator of contemporary art for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Howard N. Fox knows what's hot on the L.A. art scene, and today he reveals all in a talk modestly titled "Anatomy of the World." 1 p.m. San Jacinto College South, 13735 Beamer Road, campus administration building, Room 101-N, 922-3418. Free.

april 8
Mike Sumler CD release Houston-based singer/songwriter Mike Sumler's been performing since 1969, playing in Arkansas and Texas, with bands and without, developing for himself a die-hard following among the Anderson Fair-type crowd. It seems fair, then, to call his debut CD, Rain, long-awaited. Sumler got some help on Rain from his pal Rock Romano (a.k.a. Dr. Rockit), Tommy Dar Dar, Alaina Richardson and other local lights, and those folks, plus Jack Saunders, will play along with Sumler for his release party tonight. 8:30 p.m. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 528-5999. $6.

april 9
Arabia Shrine Circus The circus is back in town, and before every show, you can meet the Clown Jewels, even have your picture made with one. The Shrine Circus has more than 35 clowns, Bengal tigers, the Flying Rodogels (acrobats) and the Swaying Winns (pole dancers), a human cannonball and the Russian Cossacks, whose troupe now goes by Riders of the Night, who'll ride at breakneck speed under black light. 9:30 a.m. and 12:15 and 7:30 p.m. today (see Thrills, Kids for additional showtimes). AstroArena, Kirby Drive at Loop 610, where it's always been, 2-CIRCUS or 629-3700. $10-$12; free, children two and under.

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